Beethovens 9th on DVD Audio
If youre a fan of Beethovens Ninth, you need to hear it on this
DVD-Audio disc, where the sound positively leaps out of the home theater and
into your listening room.
We were first turned on to the Ninth many years ago, by Stanley Kubrick (who
also turned us on to Strauss). Were still rather ambivalent about parts
of it, but the second movement and much of the fourth are the stuff that
dreams are made of though our limited classical library meant weve
never had really good recordings of them before.
Well now we do.
This version sounds spectacular.
It's conducted by Daniel Barenboim, in whose musical life Beethoven has been
extremely important. In fact, he has recorded all nine of Beethovens symphonies
in a CD boxed set and these are scheduled for DVD-Audio release as well. We
Barenboim is well known for his performances, especially of the works of Beethoven,
and here his conducting is excellent as of course is the performance
of the Berliner Staatskapelle in front of which he stands.
This single DVD-A release of the Ninth is another excellent example not only
of the Symphony itself, but of the wonderful DVD Audio medium.
The orchestra is magnificent, with great emotion and articulation, and the
5.1 surround digital recording offers sound quality thats simply scrumptious.
The surround channels are used mostly to provide that so-important ambience,
as if youre in the symphony hall with the musicians spread out on the
stage in front of you. No artificial-sounding surround use here instead,
its a glorious recreation of a night in the tux, tucked away a few rows
from the front and wonderfully enveloped by what could be the great composers
most famous work.
There are no extras on the disc itself that are really worth crowing about,
but you do get a decent liner essay on the work in question as well as a shorter
one about conductor Barenboim in several languages. You also get the
lyrics for the fourth movements Ode to Joy as well as pictures of the
soloists. The extras on the disc include "Beethoven's Works in Their Time,"
which is basically just a chronological listing of his compositions, in the
context of competitors and world events. There's a fairly interesting, and quite
short, interview with Barenboim and crew on Beethoven and the DVD-Audio recording,
which could serve as an interesting introduction to the medium, as well as credits
and listings of other releases.
Our bottom line here is that if you love Beethoven's Ninth, and want a pristine
digitially recorded version that carries you away on its wings of sound, this
is a good disc to try. The performance is outstanding, and the sound quality
is as well. This is no retread of an old analog recording, no matter how good
that may be. Its a state-of-the-art extravaganza, a treat for the ears.
Tell us at TechnoFile what YOU think